CYBERSTORM by Gloria Skurzynski


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Skurzynski (Almost The Real Thing, 1991) creates a breathless chase through virtual reality that seems more like an adolescent soap opera than hardcore science fiction. In 2015, Darcy, 12, moves with her parents to a suburban enclave where high mortgage payments, restricted energy use, and a totalitarian homeowner's association are facts of life. When Animal Control threatens Darcy's dog, Chip, with destruction because of an anonymous neighbor's complaint, the family suspects the elderly woman next door. But Mrs. Galloway likes dogs and wants only to relive her memories in her VROOM (the virtual reality room) one last time. The cops insist on deporting Chip anyway. A VROOM malfunction transports Darcy, Chip, and the old woman into a dimension where they experience Mrs. Galloway's memories. In the meantime, Darcy's father struggles to gain their release via dialogue liberally spiced with exclamation points. The science here is fairly inconsistent: Readers are told that objects and people in the virtual realm are intangible, but a tornado pulls with frightening force. Predictably, Darcy is not rescued by the adults, but by her pal Erik, who risked the the town bullies to save his friend. Readers who already cruise cyberspace may find that Darcy's unscientific leap into the virtual dimension is simply too far to go.

Pub Date: June 1st, 1995
Page count: 137pp
Publisher: Macmillan